Category: holidays


Sunday Swim – 13th October

Whew, it’s been unseasonably hot this spring, and Sunday continued the trend by being crazy hot.

I had plans to meet my friend Kate for a motorbike ride through the Royal National Park, down to the beautiful town of Bundeena. We’ve done this ride a few times (it’s a very popular motorbike route) and usually we have to rug up pretty well. Most of it is through forest and it’s shady and pretty cold. So when I was packing and preparing the night before, I laid out clothes for the next day and included my thermals.

Luckily, I checked the weather before getting dressed. It was already 30 degrees and rising. I left off the thermal layer, and pulled out the removable padded lining of my jacket.

We still sweated our way down the highway and into the national park.

Kate had been let me know beforehand she probably wouldn’t be joining me for a swim at this time of year, but by the time we arrived we were both so hot and grimy that the water was a blessed relief.

IMG_2120That grass there was quite full of bindies, and I somehow managed to pack everything except a pair of thongs, so it’s possible I may have committed a major crime against fashion by having to wear my motorbike boots with my swimmers down to the sand. I know, I know. Such a trendsetter. Next season all the cool kids will be doing it!

 

I’ve been doing a bit of house-hunting lately. Sadly that seems to involve Saturdays which is a horrible clash with training. Someone should do something about that!

This weekend I wanted to attend an auction. I was cutting things a little fine, but figured I could still train…until my bike battery went flat and I had to do a tricky jump start to get me to see the helpful guys at Battery World Tempe instead. With that out of the way, and an unsuccessful auction behind me, my friend Steph and I decided there was nothing for it but a trip to the beach. She’s moving back to the States this week (despite me not so subtle hints that she should stay) and this was a last-for-a-while visit to Bondi.

Wowee! Bondi beach on a hot day on a long weekend is crazy-town! Let’s just say that there were a lot of people there. And all their friends and family.

The main Bondi flags section was particularly packed and there were no waves at all, so we headed for the North end. There was a cute little break running off the bank. Perfect for catching a long ride into the shore!

After a while, we retired to do the tourist thing and lay on our towels and read for a bit. It was different for me. As much time as I spend at the beach I really tend to send it in the water (or at the coffee shop afterwards), so lying on the sand to dry off is a bit of a novelty. Of course I realised the implications of this afterwards, in the locker room, when trying to dry off after a shower with a soggy sandy towel!

Anyway, it was a fabulous day, wrapped up with raw vegan cakes and icecream and a fitting farewell to my scuba buddy and all-round top-chick….

Super-Steph!

Super-Steph! Not actually from the October Long weekend….

See you in San Francisco!

So, the other day this happened.

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 11.47.06 PMYes, you read that right. Probably the second time as you may have wondered what the hell it was you were looking at.

I’m equal parts petrified and excited (hint: a cr@pload of both) about this. I’ve been contemplating it for quite some time, and decided I needed to get in while the limited entries were open before I could back down or change my mind.

I’m unbelievably amazed by the fact that this is going to happen (and questioning my sanity in entering the non-wesuit category), and then trying to reassure myself with the fact that it’s not actually that cold (around 15 degrees Celsius) or actually that far (2.4km), It’s just the combination of those things that’s kind of freaking me out. And the jetlag. And the sharks (a myth to scare the prisoners, right?). My recent research Google search suggests that there are sharks in the bay, but not man-eating ones, and that there has never been a recorded attack on a person by a shark there. Whew!

So why would i do this to myself?

Well, apart from the California holiday I’m planning for myself after the event is done (assuming I survive!) I’m doing it as my goal swim. This year I’ll be mentoring a new long swim program for that brilliant bunch of crazies, Can Too.

If you happen to be in a position to join me, you can sign up on the Can Too website now.

If you’re not interested in swimming (very hard for me to believe!), you can still get on board and support my fundraising efforts via my Can Too Fundraising Link.

And wish me luck…escaping from Alcatraz!

Birthday Bliss

It was my birthday this week, and it was sensational. I wouldn’t normally mention it on here, but this year I’m hoping the Easter Claus Fairy (hedging my bets) brings me my latest object of lust, the recently announced Nikon 1 mirrorless waterproof.

I’m not sure exactly how I’d fit it down the front of my swimmers/wetsuit, but both my latest waterproof point and shoot and my DSLR are Nikons, and I love them both dearly, and the new release looks pretty damn awesome.

But seriously, the real reason I thought I’d mention it is that I took a couple of days off work to have myself a little “staycation” for my birthday this year. The day of my birthday was reasonably busy, but the day after I had to scoot over to Coogee to drop something off for a friend.

So what’a a girl to do? Pack the togs and go for a swim of course!

My brag text to my friends stuck at work.

My brag text to my friends stuck at work.

I have to admit, the water was a touch chilly, I was on my own, and pretty much nobody knew where I was, plus the waves were a touch on the wild side. So I played it safe. Well, safe-ish. I headed out just to the edge of the break and spent an hour or so body-surfing. Have to admit I was a little proud of being the only woman out there with the one serious body-surfer, the half-a-dozen late-teens daring each other to catch a wave (standing in the wrong spot and squealing like girls at the cold water), and a couple of surfers I suspect took a wrong turn and ended up at the wrong beach.

The waves were great, but unforgiving. If you hopped on in the wrong spot or didn’t quite catch it right…well, let’s just say I got dumped once, and tumbled even getting under waves a couple of times. You know what, though, the more time I spend swimming in the ocean, the more I’m convinced that one of the main differences between a good swimmer and one who struggles (not necessarily talking about fast and slow here) is their ability to not panic. It’s totally the worst thing you can do but totally the first thing you turn to if you rely entirely on instinct and not experience. A couple of winters swimming through have really shown me that every time I’ve been dumped and found myself a little anxious, within a second or so (if I’m really unlucky it might get up to 5 seconds or so) that pesky wave has broken, the white water passes, and you figure out which way is up. The air in your lungs pops you up like a cork, whether you’re thinking about it or not, and you fill your lungs with sweet, free air. Easy!

No guarantees you'll have glamorous hair afterwards, though!

No guarantees you’ll have glamorous hair afterwards, though!

The Bondi Bluewater seems to have been a long time coming this year.

Originally it was slated to be the 1km and 2km Can Too goal swim in February. There was some sort of problem with the council so it was rescheduled for later, only to have it postponed again due to poor weather and conditions.

The thing is, this race is to support the Bondi surf club (as opposed to the North Bondi Surf club who run other Bondi events). So this is to support the amazing men and women who volunteer their Saturdays all summer to provide the all-important water safety for the Can Too swim program. So even though the Easter Sunday swim wasn’t the most convenient, I was still very keen to do this event.

Since there was a combo entry to this with a previous event, I have also been entered forever to double up. However, when Sunday actually rolled around, I was (due to an insane number of things packed into my Easter) kind of exhausted. I did manage to drag myself out of bed, but took an executive decision with myself to bail out of the earlier 1km event, and show up for the 2.1km long course.

Once I arrived at the beach, it was, well, a little somber. The usual buzz and atmosphere of an ocean swim event was a bit lacking, and numbers were definitely down. To add to that, it was a little overcast and grey.

20130408-130041.jpg

But you know, it was home turf and once in the water, all was right with the world.:-)

I’ll start with the water temperature….it was just perfect!

The water was clear, and there were a few little rolling waves into the shore for a nudge at the end, but no sign of chop or anything too tricky at all.

The race was well organised and the course was clearly marked, and the fruit and water set-up at the end of the race was excellent.

I raced, well, OK. Not bad, and last season I would have been happy with my time. this year, however, a little quicker might have been possible, but there are a few events left on the calendar for me to see what I can do about finishing the season with a PB.

A very good effort from Bondi surf club, though, despite all the challenges…well done!!

 

Happy Easter!

Well, I’m pretty sure I just had the most hectic of easters in the history of easter. I managed to….

  1. Help paint the whole house
  2. Extensively celebrate the birthday of one of my oldest friends
  3. Ride to Kiama and back in a day. (about 300km)
  4. Swim 2 races in different spots on different days.
  5. Eat and drink at least my bodyweight in deliciously evil goodness at multiple venues.

Good news is that the 2 races, that were as different as chalk and cheese, have provided fodder for some upcoming posts.

Bad news is that as part of the process of getting item one complete, the house has been in such chaos I’ve been basically offline and haven’t downloaded any photos or kept anything even slightly up to date.

Good news….watch this space for a couple of race reports (apologies for them being a touch late).

More good news!!!

Check out this hilarious clip….I hope it keeps you amused til I get my lounge room back in order and my blog posts underway!

OK, whinge over, holiday over, blogging hiatus over!

I’ve been down in my home town in Tassie. It was too cold for swimming, plus (surprisingly given the whole state is an island) it is actually a bit of a drive to the beach (and swimming in that river is definitely not an option). Besides which I was far too busy spending time with fabulous people, and eating and drinking some fabulous food and wine.

Janz

But now I’m back home and back at work and it’s Friday afternoon and it’s 30 degrees outside. Get me to the beach pronto!

God, I feel a bit like this blog, and my swimming, and the weather and everything else are all over the place at the moment?

What’s it all about? Well, a couple of things. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I love a list, so here goes:

  1. The freaking weather. it’s messed with way too many races this season. I haven’t raced in a month, and although a little of that is due to other commitments, the weather this year has been very inconvenient! Mostly on the weekends. It’s messed with a number of races I’ve been entered in. Bondi to Bronte and Bilgola were pretty hard work. Palmy to Whale was the worst I’ve ever seen it. Caves Beach was postponed and the Bondi double postponed til Easter. Freshwater just called things off cos the forecast was too scary and there were no days left free in the season.
  2. On top of that….Tamarama to Clovelly (my favourite race last year) told us early on they were going on hiatus for this year.
  3. Coogee to Bondi is postponed indefinitely.
  4. Coogee to Bondi is postponed indefinitely. I’m still trying to wrap my head around this.
  5. Coogee to Bondi is postponed indefinitely. Do they have any idea how long and hard I trained for this event?
  6. It’s not all bad news. I’ve been doing my advanced dive training. Pity the freaking weather got in the way so that I had to do it over two weekends instead of one!
  7. Work is just mental. One of those big corporate things that I wish didn’t affect my work/life balance but does at the moment.
  8. Coogee to Bondi is postponed indefinitely. How bloody hard is it to keep motivated when they take away your goals?
  9. There’s quite a lot going on with me this year. There was the camping holiday, I’m flying to Tassie in a couple of days (and again later in the year), I’m getting together the world’s most awesome team for the MS Megaswim (remember how cool last year was? think that multiplied by 4!)
  10. Coogee to Bondi is postponed indefinitely. Far out. Not happy, Jan!
  11. other stuff going on on the home front…just sold a house I’ve had in Tassie for a million years (or a decade of so. I forget which is longer), and we’re doing some reno work on the place we have here in Sydney, looking to sell up and move into something more aligned with our lifestyles. Negotiations are underway on exactly what that meansI can tell you right now that I am not a contender for the block. I’m OK with doing the work, I’m just really not gonna love it like some people do. Swimming on the other hand…..
  12. Phew, that’s a long list. Embarrassing much?
  13. Oh, OK. 5 points were pretty much the same thing. Probably time to move onto plan B, I guess. Watch this space!

So, the point is? Besides a bit of self-pity? I’ll be back on track shortly…I always get there. With my little hiatus down South to my hometown I’ll even have a go at getting up to date with the posts. In the meantime, 4SEASons is getting bigger and better so talk amongst yourselves. And if the weather would like to get its shot together…well that’d be just fine too!

I swear I didn’t plan it that way but the big weekend of the Huskisson Triathlon was on while we were on holidays camping nearby at Cave Beach. I’m not a triathlete, but apparently it’s quite a big deal.

I also didn’t know (significant other suggested the holiday destination, not me) that there was an ocean swim on Friday night to get people into the swing of things before the bigger events started on the weekend.

I did hear about it a few days before.

I tossed up whether it was the right thing to do, but on the day of the event, my beloved came down with a toothache, and took some painkillers and settled into the tent for a long sleep. At that point, I figured I wasn’t actually sacrificing any “together” time, so jumped in the car, drove the 10 minutes to Huskisson and did an on-the-day registration.

The race was a bit of a funny one. It was a 1km course in a triangle and the water was pretty well dead flat. The majority of the swimmers, though, were triathletes. And triathletes tend not to put too much emphasis on the swim portion of their training as it generally doesn’t make up that much of the overall race.

It was very interesting sitting on the beach and overhearing snippets of conversations. There were a lot of very fit people on the beach who were quite worried about a pretty short race in pretty easy conditions. I was trying not to be smug…especially given how I would feel if faced with a triathlon!

The race itself was pretty good. I’m so not a sprinter, and it’s been bloody ages since I did a race that short without following it up with a longer one straight after. So decided to consider it a sprint.

For all of the nerves, it was a reasonably paced race. I couldn’t resist and did a bit of a comparison with a more specific ocean swim race of the same length with a similar number of competitors and the tri race was faster at the winners end, but otherwise the finishing profiles were surprisingly similar.

Here’s a bit of a chart with the male and female fields split out….

Husky Analysis

Sorry – I know it’s super geeky, but I honestly didn’t expect to be racing. I didn’t have my camera with me, I didn’t have my garmin on, and since we did a deep water start I forgot to so much as hit the button on my stopwatch!

It was a nice swim, though, with lots to see in the water…we even swam over the top of the least-timid wobbegong I’ve even seen!

Update – Yep, in response to a few questions I’ve had…lot of them wore wetsuits and tri suits. More than you’d get in an ocean race, although I guess that’s understandable. IMHO, though, would’ve been bloody hot!

Cave Beach – Jervis Bay

I’ve been on holidays! Yay!

And I got to swim here every day…..

Met some of the local wildlife…..

Spent some romantic time with this bloke (it was our 10 year anniversary! Can you believe it?)

Just lovely! why are there not more ocean swims in this part of the world? It’s beautiful and the beaches were spectacular. The water was like crystal!

I did mostly relax, but managed one swim that I’d consider any kind of real training…and may have managed to sneak in a race…kind of!

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